March 21, 2019 05:54 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- A new report released this week shows that homelessness is on the rise across Minnesota.
A Wilder Research study says more than 10,000 homeless people lived in Minnesota in 2018, the highest number recorded since Wilder Research began tracking these numbers in the 1990s.
Wilder Research studies Minnesota’s homeless population every three years.
From 2015-2018, the number of homeless people in the Twin Cities has grown by 9 percent, and across greater Minnesota, the homeless population has increased by 13 percent.
Rochester Police Lt. Craig Anderson said this winter, there’s been more homeless activity in downtown Rochester.
"It's become more prevalent, for sure. We get calls both ways: People calling because they want to help people sleeping in skyways and other people calling saying it's bothering their business,” said Anderson.
He explained that when police go out on these calls, they’re not looking to arrest anyone.
"The immediate goal is not to bring anybody to jail," he said. "We actually try to learn about all the resources within the town that we can and then we try to educate those people."
Resources like the Salvation Army warming center, which has increased its hours of operation this year.
"We were approached by the county in the beginning of March to be able to open up the warming center all the way through this month. For the last two to three weeks, it has been open every single day and it will continue to be open until April 1st,” said Rebecca Snapp, with the Rochester Salvation Army.
She said more people have been using the center this year.
"Last year we served probably unduplicated 80 or so people at the warming center, and this year it's been well over a hundred,” she said.
She hopes bringing visibility to this growing population can spark discussion.
"It's really important that as a community we look at this, not as one single issue but the culmination of lots of different issues and what are ways we can support these people in ways that address lots of those different issues, and help them to still be independent successful citizens here in Rochester,” she said.
Created: March 21, 2019 05:54 PM
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